Couple loses everything, pet dog in fire

The fire caused about $45,000 in damage to the home in the 8100 block of Panay Drive

February 6, 2012 9:05:29 AM PST
A couple in their 80s have nothing left. All of their belongings were lost in an early morning house fire in southeast Houston.

Westley Minex and her husband Robert woke up in a panic at 5:30am. The walls in their bedroom were on fire in their home in the 8100 block of Panay Drive.

"I turned around and tried to smother it out between the wall and the bed, but it got over me," Robert said.

The couple, in their 80s, can hardly walk but they jumped out of bed and managed to make it out the front door. They blame their electric space heater for destroying the home they've lived in since 1962.

Westley said, "I had it fixed where it go on and turn off when it gets too hot. I guess it got overheated, I don't know.

Westley says their gas was turned off last week but it's cold outside.

She said, "They were supposed to come out here this morning and put our gas back on, but now we're just devastated."

It's a sad situation fire crews frequently see when the temperature dips.

HFD District Chief Tony Bisbano explained, "When the weather gets cooler, just be careful of space heaters and where you place them in the house."

Approximately 70 firefighters responded to the incident which was tapped out in about 15 minutes. There were no reported injuries.

While arson officials investigate the exact cause of this fire, the homeowners, now homeless, will turn to their family for shelter. The fire caused about $45,000 in damage. The couple's family says they do have insurance.

The couple's pet Chihuahua died in the fire.